News / Middle East

Syria's Civil War Fuels Violence in Iraq

Syria's Civil War Fuels Violence in Iraqi
X
May 23, 2013 9:01 PM
Ominous ties are emerging between skyrocketing sectarian violence in Iraq and Syria's civil war. Analysts say al-Qaida-linked militants are flowing back and forth from both countries and are seeking to use religious differences to bring down the government, not only in Damascus, but also in Baghdad. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Syria's Civil War Fuels Violence in Iraq
Meredith Buel
Ominous ties are emerging between skyrocketing sectarian violence in Iraq and Syria's civil war. Analysts say al-Qaida-linked militants are flowing back and forth from both countries and are seeking to use religious differences to bring down the government, not only in Damascus, but also in Baghdad.

Iraqis are witnessing the worst violence to rock their country in five years.

Bombings and other attacks against Sunni Muslim and Shi’ite targets are stoking sectarian tensions.

One major reason is the civil war next door in Syria.

“It is no accident that we are seeing more bombings in Iraq now because of the money and the weapons that are going to the Syrian Free Army, some factions of which are aligned with al-Qaida,” said Douglas Ollivant of the New America Foundation.

Amateur video posted online shows rebel fighters in Syria from the al-Nusra Front pledging allegiance to al-Qaida.

The group receives support from al-Qaida in Iraq, and militants frequently cross the porous Iraqi-Syrian border.

“The Iraqis are scared to death about the backlash and the back flow of some of these militants and al-Qaida related groups,” said Michael Rubin, who is with the American Enterprise Institute.

Rubin calls Syria an underground railroad for militants to get into Iraq.

In 2006-2007, tens of thousands of Iraqis died in sectarian conflict, but this time there are no U.S. troops to help quell the violence.

For months, Iraq’s minority Sunnis have staged anti-government demonstrations.

Some say the success of Syrian rebels has given them confidence to challenge what they say is discrimination and abuse by Iraq's Shi’ite-led government.

“As this moment could be leading us to a war, it could also encourage a lot of decision makers to think seriously for the first time about sharing power, security responsibilities and wealth,” said Sarmad al-Taie, an Iraqi analyst.

As the carnage continues, some Sunni leaders say the conflicts in Iraq and Syria are now intertwined.   
“Well one way of trying to give Iraq breathing room is to help the fighting in Syria end.  The longer it lingers there the more danger it is to Iraq," said Vali Nasr, the dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

But the conflict in Syria shows no sign of ending soon, and Iraqi leaders are worried other countries may be involved in encouraging sectarian attacks.

“The return of these people is an investment in the political instability that has led to instability of society, due to sectarianism that is linked this time with agendas beyond our borders,” said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Maliki has ordered a shakeup of senior government security officials, but fears of more sectarian violence continue.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid